Sporting KC traveled to California in a MLS match up against San Jose Earthquakes, looking to jump ahead of Real Salt Lake in the Supporter’s Shield race. But a second half goal from Chris Wondolowski was enough to see San Jose beat Sporting KC 1-0.
Kansas City came into the game without both Graham Zusi and Kei Kamara. Zusi has been out for the past few weeks after picking up an injury in the MLS All-Star Game, and Kamara was injured in the match against New England last weekend.
As was expected, the game was pretty physical between the two clubs. Sporting was called for 16 total fouls in the match, and continued to lead the entire league in fouls conceded. The physicality of the game, along with strong defensive performances from both sides, made the chances few and far between.
San Jose almost broke the deadlock in the 33rd minute when Clarence Goodson was able to get his head on the end of a Marvin Chavez free kick, and headed the ball on target. But Sporting KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen made a brilliant save, diving to the right to deny Goodson of his goal.
The first half ended with Sporting trying to get a goal before halftime, but a mixture of good defense from San Jose and Kansas City’s poor offensive play saw the game go to halftime goalless.
Sporting KC came out in the second half dominating possession, but still lacked the ability to break down the San Jose defense. The first, and only goal of the match, came 10 minutes after the break. Steven Beitashour was able to play in a great ball to Wondolowski, who rose above the defense to beat Nielsen. The replay showed that Wondolowski was clearly offside, but the goal was allowed to stand.
Sporting KC took control of the match after the San Jose goal, with a majority of the play happening in the San Jose half. Substitute Teal Bunbury had one of the better chances in the match for Sporting KC. Soony Saad was able to get a cross into Bunbury, who was right in front of goal. But pressure from Goodson made Bunbury shoot the ball way about the goal.
Sporting KC wanted a penalty kick awarded to them in the 65th minute when Saad was taken down in the box after a long throw in from Matt Besler. But head official Juan Guzman deemed it a clean challenge, and waived off the protests from Sporting KC.
The rest of the match saw Kansas City failing to find that final pass to score the equalizer. The game would end 1-0 to San Jose. Although dropping all three points on the road, Sporting KC remains tied for first with New York Red Bulls in the Eastern Conference with 39 points.
Sporting KC will travels to Chicago on Friday to face their rivals, the Chicago Fire. They will be without defender Aurelien Collin, who will be suspended due to yellow card accumulation. Zusi will most likely make is return to the starting line up against Chicago, which Sporting will look towards to reinvigorate their offense.